Overall, this is a great piece of traditional, yet modern, cigar clothing. I would not hesitate in recommending this for your formal or casual cigar event if you want to stand out a bit from the crowd. The price is right, and the quality is high, so do yourself a favor and check out the Y.A. Bera website.
Day two started out with a boat tour of Lake Nicaragua, which we had just seen from a distance the day before. Around the edge of the lake are a ton of tiny inlets or small islands created by the nearby Mombacho Volcano in its last eruption. Along the way, we saw a few monkeys, posh houses, and interesting birds. Unfortunately no bull sharks or American crocodiles.
This is the time of year that publications, websites and passionate cigar smokers start releasing their “Cigar of the Year” lists. Not all of these lists are created equally though, so we wanted to point out what some of the differences are, what you should be looking for and what to take into consideration when evaluating them or comparing them to other lists.
I must admit, when I approached the home rollers on the BOTL web forum about a friendly contest, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I learned that coordinating a series of this type is a big logistical challenge for which I was unprepared. In the end, it was a good experience for me. I hope it was also a good experience for those who participated, and especially our readers.
The festival starts out in the city of Granada. Although not known particularly for making cigars, it is Nicaragua's oldest city. I found Granada to be much more tourist-friendly than my previous visit to Esteli. It is Nicaragua's sixth most populous city. Granada is historically one of Nicaragua's most important cities, economically and politically. It has a rich colonial heritage, seen in its architecture and structure. Granada was founded in 1524 by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, and is allegedly the first European city in mainland America.
Overall, I REALLY enjoyed this experience. It gave me an opportunity to do something that, until now, was only a dream. And the great thing is, anyone can do it. There are a few things I would add or improve, and hopefully those things will be changed in the future if this becomes more popular. Those few shortcomings are far outweighed by the awesome experience and attention to detail in presentation. I want to thank Natasha and George again for giving me the opportunity to review this product, I really enjoyed the experience and definitely recommend this to all the intermediate and advanced smokers out there.
In the case of shop events, it can be challenging for a small cigar shop. The difficulty comes in a few different forms. On one hand, a smaller cigar shop simply doesn't have as much space for customers. Also, a brand owner would typically be less inclined to spend the time money and effort to hold an event at a small cigar shop. But brands who have a broad following and dedicated group of talented sales reps can take chances on small shop events, and sometimes turn them into a success. In late July of 2018, I spent the evening at my local shop and had a wonderful time at a small scale cigar event.
Since I have already been to some cigar factories, I had some idea what to expect. What was so wonderful about the tour at the Don Lucas cigar factory was the close family atmosphere. While it is a small factory by some standards, they do not cut corners on quality or final product. They meet or exceed some quality control and aging standards that I have seen from other manufacturers. They don’t disclose what daily production rates are, but they vary. It all depends on what leaf they have in stock that day that is ready to be rolled. They do not base anything off production quotas, but only on quality standards. I greatly admire that practice, especially considering how rare it is becoming in the cigar industry.
Operation Esteli is a joint effort between BOTL.org and MPI designed to provide education enrichment, food security, nutrition, as well as safe housing and shelter to disadvantaged children in Esteli, Nicaragua. This is the second year for Operation Esteli. In 2014, more than $12,000 was raised, which resulted in the provision of teacher training, school supplies and learning materials, and nutritious school lunches to support more than 700 students, as well providing the funding required to construct a new home for a family in need.
Imagine a car enthusiast having an opportunity to tour the Ferrari factory in Maranello, or someone who is a collector of fine watches going to visit Patek Philippe in Geneva. The chance to actually see your favorite products being constructed by hand can be a real treat for the senses, and it can also give a heightened respect for the work that goes into creating these items that we love so much. For premium cigar lovers the products that we consume are some of the most artfully and painstakingly crafted products in the world. Still, so many cigar lovers still don't have the first-hand experience of seeing what goes into growing fine tobacco and crafting great cigars. During Puro Sabor 2018 I was able to visit a number of cigar factories, large and small. In this second article of the series about the festival I will take you through these factories in the same order that I visited them.